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3 Good Bike Racks for Hatchback Cars: 2018 Reviews

Updated on September 6, 2018

Which is the Best Bicycle Rack for a Hatchback?

In my student days I owned a few smaller hatchback cars. As a bike rider, I know the frustration of trying to transport my bike in the trunk of such a small vehicle. If only I had owned one of the bicycle racks for hatchback cars available today! No longer are hatchback owners restricted in moving their bikes around, there are many great options to carry a cycle on a small vehicle now.

Hatchback style bicycle racks are specially designed mount systems intended to allow vehicles with a rear hatch door or trunk to carry one, two or even three bicycles at a time, safely and securely. They are fairly easy to install, and some even come pre-assembled and ready to install out of the box. There are different models and varieties, which we'll talk about in a bit.

This article is intended as a review of several of my favorite bicycle racks for hatchback vehicles, taking a close look at their features and hopefully helping you make a decision on what to buy. We'll talk about their features, capabilities and safety paraphernalia, as well as things like ease of installation and price. Let's get started!

What kind of bicycle racks / carriers best fit a hatchback car?

There are several different varieties of bicycle carrier racks and hitches that work well with a hatchback car, depending on the size of the vehicle and your current configurations.

Personally, I think that one type in particular is your best option, but I'll get to that in a moment. Here is a list all of the common models you're likely to find these days.

  1. Roof mounted bicycle racks:

    Some hatchbacks are large enough to support crossbar roof racks, along with some station wagons and vans. These crossbars are perfect for a roof mounted bicycle rack, and thus that's a good option if you have them.

    They install easily, and keep your bike secure with minimal work. Some versions require you to remove your front wheel to secure the bicycle, but aside from that they are pretty great and rather convenient (provided you can reach up there to get them in place.)

  2. Hitch bicycle racks for cars:

    Some bike racks are intended to attach to a hidden hitch underneath the rear of the vehicle. These hitches are common on SUVs, trucks and vans, but they are less often found on smaller cars like a hatchback or a station wagon.

    If you happen to have a rear hitch on your hatchback for some reason, this is the way to go. Hitch bike racks for cars are very strong, highly stable, and easy to install. However, the hidden hitches themselves are pretty expensive, so if you don't have one already they're not the cheapest option.

  3. Trunk-mounted bicycle car racks:

    This is another popular variety, and the kind I would most recommend you use for your vehicle. I prefer this style of cycle carrier because they're easier to assemble and install on your vehicle, and most of them fold away in a snap.

    Affordable hatchback bike racks are most often this variety, since they readily attach to the rear hatch door and fold flat when not in use. We'll take a look at a few examples of this type in a minute, so read on!

Allen Deluxe: A super convenient 2-bike trunk mount rack


A popular and simple bicycle rack for hatchbacks

This Allen Trunk Mount rack is probably the most popular item I've listed here, and for good reason. It's really straightforward and has a low price tag. Despite the cost, it's pretty effective and should do everything you need it too, though without very many bells and whistles.

It comes pre-assembled, so you just have to take it out of the box, unfold it, install it, and go. The carrying arms are 12 inches long, so they should fit almost any bike quite nicely. The simple, patented strap system is easy to install and keeps the rack pretty snug.

It's not a fancy hatchback carrier rack, but it gets the job done. It comes with a lifetime warranty against breakage or defect.

That said, I wouldn't probably use it if you have heavier bicycles, like a couple of beefy downhill mountain bikes, or a set of fat bikes. Invest in a more premium model (preferably a hitch mount) if that's the case for you.

Saris Bones: A gorgeous and strong bicycle rack for hatchbacks


Works great for cars with a trunk / boot too

The Saris Bones is an answer to anyone who wants a bicycle rack but hates how they look. This item is gorgeous and custom designed to take up very little space by utilizing mechanical advantage. It's hard to believe such a small item could carry two bikes so effectively, but it does the job really well.

Beyond its clever and attractive design, the injection molded structure is among the strongest out there, and it fits beautifully on a hatchback vehicle (or any vehicle for that matter). The all-resin construction is non-rusting, and the straps ratchet into place and include anti-sway technology. Due to the arch, it even works if your car sports a rear spoiler.

Price-wise, it's a bit more expensive than some of the others listed here, but the benefits outweigh the extra cost and you're sure to get years of good use out of this one.

Allen Ultra Compact: A folding, 1-bike carrier for small cars


A single bike rack for hatchback cars

If you only ever need to carry a single bicycle at one time, this is a mounting system that will probably blow your mind. The Allen Ultra Compact is a truly tiny and very low profile bicycle rack that can hold a surprising amount of weight. It's so small it can fit in a backpack, and it's perfect if you need an on the spot carrier at any time.

This mini bike rack uses padding and straps to keep your cycle nice, snug and secure, and it uses three padded legs to rest safely against the vehicle. It'll work on vehicles of any kind, but it works especially well on a hatchback or SUV rear door. When you're done you can just fold it up and store it in your bag.

I recommend this to friends who ride around frequently. It's nice if someone offers you a ride, because you can pull it out and attach your bike in minutes. It's pretty ideal for camping trips too.

Hatchback Bicycle Racks: Considerations

Before you pull the trigger on a bike rack for sale, you should consider the various ramifications and whether a model will suit your needs.

First, figure out the maximum number of bikes you'll need to carry, since most racks have limits (typically 2 to 4 bikes, but some can carry larger quantities).

Secondly, figure out the weight of your bikes. Most bicycle racks for hatchback cars have weight restrictions, so you don't want to max it out. In particular, mountain bikes and fat bikes can be quite heavy, sometimes upwards of 40 pounds. Make sure that your hatchback style bicycle rack can handle a lot of weight if you own a hefty bike.

Lastly, figure out installation logistics. Will this rack fit inside your car when not in use? Does it fold flat? Will you need to remove the front wheel of your bike when you mount it? If so, will you have room inside your vehicle for the wheel?

Think through these things because you want the process to be easy. Otherwise you won't use it!

Have a hatchback car? What's your bike transportation experience been like?

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    • BikePro profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Yeah, that spoiler really causes problems. You might check out the Saris Bones. You could either position the feet to fit OVER the spoiler (kind of awkwardly high, but reduces any chance of breakage), or you could just risk the straps on the spoiler, since it puts the least weight on the straps. I've seen the Bones safely installed on a Mini Cooper, which has a similar spoiler issue. I've got a link to the Saris 805 in this article. Check out some of the customer photos... some clever workarounds with spoilers on there. I hope that helps!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nobody seems to be talking about hatchbacks with spoilers at the rear of the roof. The ones with no gap under the spoiler won't allow installation of a trunk type bike rack because the upper straps will put too much pressure on the lip of the spoiler, possibly causing the spoiler to break. I have talked with tech support at several bike rack makers and all say they have nothing to mount on the rear of a car such as my Honda Fit Sport. Does anyone know of a rack which will work? Don't want a roof rack (car is too tall to easily put bikes on roof) and don't want hitch mount, car has no hitch and will never haul a trailer.


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